The paramount chief of the Effutu Traditional Area, Neenyi Ghartey VII, has conveyed the traditional council’s disinterest in allowing lithium mining on their land.
The chief expressed concerns about the potential environmental impact on their stream, lagoon, and hunting grounds, crucial for the annual Aboakyire festival.
Speaking on the Class Morning Show with Kwame Dwomoh Agyemang on Wednesday, 13 December 2023, Neenyi Ghartey outlined three main reasons against any form of mining in the area.
He emphasised that lithium mining, being surface mining, would destroy their stream and mini-lagoon, jeopardising their status as a Ramsar site of international importance.
Additionally, the hunting grounds integral to the Aboakyire festival would be compromised.
Neenyi Ghartey questioned the benefits of lithium mining compared to the contributions of the Aboakyire festival to tourism and the community’s well-being.
He stated: “I will be glad if somebody can come forward and tell me the tourism interest, what we give to the government because of the festival and what this lithium will give to us in three-five years.”
The paramount chief made it clear that as of now, no entity has approached the traditional council for mining in Winneba.
However, he asserted that if such a situation arises in the future, both the council and the people will resist it.
Neenyi Ghartey emphasised that mining is not the sole path to community development, adding that revenue from tourism, particularly from the Aboakyire festival, can contribute equally.
“We will resist it because it’s not minerals alone that will make a country what it is. I’ve travelled to a few places and I know what the countries get from tourism. So, if that is ours and what we contribute towards the national good, why not protect it?” he remarked.
Meanwhile, notably, various prominent Ghanaians, including Council of State member Sam Okudzeto and former Chief Justice Sophia Akuffo, have criticised the current lithium mining deal between the government of Ghana and Barari BV.
Despite opposing voices, the Minerals Commission asserts that the deal is in the best interest of the nation.
The $250-million project is scheduled to commence production by 2025, with the government standing to gain a 10% royalty and a 30% stake in Atlantic Lithium.
Lands Minister Samuel Abu Jinapor insists that this deal represents the best in Ghana’s mining history.